Are you surprised to hear that tough times have led to a surge in alcohol sales?
We’re not here to judge but here’s the real deal about drinking to relax or deal with stress: Yes, it can help here or there.
However, over time, it can also contribute to those very same feelings you’re attempting to escape: anxiety and depression. Studies find that people who are depressed and drink too much have more frequent and severe episodes of depression. And head’s up if you are taking antidepressants: alcohol can dampen their effects.
Experts say people who use alcohol as a way to cope with problems and stress (known as “drinking for negative reinforcement”) are in more danger of their drinking turning into abusive or heavy drinking than those who use it for social occasions (“drinking for positive reinforcement”).
And then there are the many physical impacts: Alcohol can sabotage your body’s immune response to disease, its ability to fight infection, as well as its ability to recover from illness. Research also finds that microbes in the gastrointestinal tract — the first point of contact for alcohol as it passes through your body — are altered, which can keep your gut from functioning normally.
And these are just for starters. You don’t have to be a chronic, long-term drinker for such impacts to occur. Acute binge drinking can cause them too.
Time for Dry Spell?
All of which brings us to the rising trend of Dry February (and Sober October). After a year of stress and a season of holiday over-indulgence, now might be a good opportunity to lose the booze and reset your relationship with alcohol.
If you need a little positive reinforcement, here are some benefits of non-drinking to consider:
You’ll lower your risk of accidents or injuries.
Your blood pressure and triglyceride levels will decline, helping your heart.
Your liver, which filters toxins (alcohol is a toxin), will get a rest.
Your scale might shift in your favor. (A glass of beer equals 150 calories, while a glass of wine is 120 calories. Do the math.)
Your relationships may improve. (Need we explain how alcohol can fuel tempers and loosen lips?)
You’ll sleep better and more soundly with less disruption.
You’ll come down with fewer colds and other illnesses.
You’ll be clearer-headed.
We’re going to give it try. Want to join us? Let us know — and let us know how it goes.
And then, maybe we’ll gather for No Caffeine March? Yes, you’re right. No need to go overboard here…!
For a Pause
Looking for tips on how to complete a dry month successfully? In The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free, journalist Hilary Sheinbaum shares ways to help you make it happen.
Looking for a virgin twist on some popular drinks? Bartenders spill their secrets on how to mix up a drink worth sipping here.
Did you know that red wine contains more alcohol than white? It true. And here are some other tidbits you might not know about your favorite cocktails.
Ditching the drink isn’t the only way to boost your health. ICYMI, we shared five more ridiculously easy health-boosters here.
One More Thing
All this talk of red, red wine has us thinking of this earworm. #sorrynotsorry
Until next week, stay well. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
See you next time!
How dry I am?
How dry I am?
Nobody knows how dry I am
— How Dry I Am, Artie Shaw and his Orchestra
Know someone who could use a Pause? Why not share us with them? Thanks so much!